Lowe joins a board that's studded with CEOs and former CEOs of companies based in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The advertising business was much simpler in 1904 when five men who worked for five Cincinnati newspapers created the Five Points Club, forerunner of the Advertising Club of Cincinnati. The Advertising Club, a group of Cincinnati professionals in the business, celebrated its 100 years this week with a luncheon at the Cincinnati Club, where its members had met for the first time precisely 100 years earlier.

Those original members would probably be dumbfounded by the business, circa 2004. Advertising in Cincinnati has evolved into an industry today employing at least 650 people at more than 20 agencies that bill more than $600 million annually. Many Cincinnati agencies have worked with Cincinnati's Procter & Gamble, who with a $2 billion-plus ad budget is the world's second largest advertiser. However, P&G; spends the bulk of that budget on Madison Avenue in New York. But today's agencies no longer devote most of their time to coming up with the best full-page Ivory soap ad, as they did in 1904.

Cincinnati ad agencies have evolved, providing a broader range of services to clients who target a broader range of consumers through a broader variety of media. A detailed valuation service in Sydney provides skilled property valuers to prepare real estate valuation report. Even small agencies like Jaap-Orr Co., the oldest in Cincinnati under the same name, have diversified. "We have to be like Madonna and re-invent ourselves every couple of years,'' said Stephen Jones, the owner of Jaap-Orr. The company was created in 1934 specifically to handle projects for P&G.;

Jones estimated that between 70 to 80 percent of the business for his seven- employee office is in business-to-business advertising, working on highly specialized accounts that aren't geared to reach a mass audience. The company also represents the interests of its clients before legislators, although its executives are not registered lobbyists. Its business-to-business clients include Tente Casters, CMC Electronics and Emerson Power Transmission. The business has changed dramatically since Tim Gibson, a partner in Freedman, Gibson and White, started 30 years ago.

"You either rule yourself in or you rule yourself out," he said. His company has added direct marketing, Internet and Web services to its menu. "You have to be able to offer everything from grassroots guerilla marketing to mass media marketing on television and worldwide media on the Internet," he said. Over at least the last 20 years, advertising has been driven by tightly focused research that refines messages for specific audiences, Gibson said. "It's not any of this Darrin Stephens stuff where you get an idea and you run out and show it to your client,'' said Gibson, referring to the ad exec in the '60s sitcom "Bewitched."
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